Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Successful Week Despite the Weather!

We had to cancel our Friends Day on June 9th because we couldn't risk cars getting stuck in the front field which we use for the car park, but we have tried to keep going with other events, particularly our Annual Certificate Presentation Day on July 4th. We were lucky in as much that the weather did hold up for a while. We had placed chairs in the exercise barn and a presentation table at the end by the school. We managed to seat about 100 - parents, carers, guardians, children, young people together with Greatwood Trustees and Patrons. We welcomed students from schools all over Wiltshire: Stonehenge, Lavington, Rowdeford, John Bentley, St Edmunds, Abbeyfield, St John's, Springfields, Corsham, St Nicholas, and Lighthouse Project. Richard Pitman and Mick Fitzgerald together with the Marlborough Mayor, Edwina Fogg, congratulated the succussful students and awarded them their certificates.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Busy Week & New Arrivals

We are only just coming up for air following the pretty dismal few weeks when all the horses were in again because of the foul weather. Pretty much hot on the tail of turning them out, we had to get ready for a really busy week. We were delighted to welcome Elite Racing Club here again for a lovely visit and then we had been invited by Salisbury Racecourse and Betfair to have a presence at the racecourse for the Thursday evening meeting (we didn't return home until 11pm) and then we welcomed Highclere Thoroughbred Racing for the first time on the Friday. Nevertheless, despite it looking fairly daunting at the beginning of the week, it was great fun and all at Salisbury Racecourse were particularly warm and welcoming. It was super to see Highclere Thoroughbred Racing here and they were interested to see the transformation in Poltergeist. Poltergeist is now very happy and settled and enjoying his work -(he had been sent to us last year from Highclere because although only young he had fallen out with racing and all his connections wanted him to have a new career). With all the horses out and a good chance of rehoming a few, we have been able to make a hole in our 'waiting' list. We have just taken in Baurnagain from Peter Chapple-Hyams yard and, funnily enough, an ex Peter Chapple-Hyams horse called Travel in Hope. Baunagain was jumping out of his skin and longing to go out, so after he had been in for a couple of days (& been wormed etc) they were both turned out in the post and rail field. They have been out for a couple of hours and so far so good - no ricocheting on the fence and no squabbles!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Oh No!!!

Just as everybody was getting used to all the horses bing out at grass and we had quite alot of horses in work - the heavens opened. It has rained and rained and rained with high winds. We are on top of a hill and the fences have broken, trees have fallen and the fields have become mud baths. We had to bring the old boys in last Saturday morning and we have to bring in everybody today because it looks like another wet and windy front is heading our way.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Spring is Here

We managed to get the horses out at the end of March, the weather had been wonderful for some weeks and if only the grass had begun to show any sign of growth we would have been able to get them out much sooner. Anyway, they are all out now and having a great time in the fields. We brought many of the horses into work straightaway; they'd had quite long enough lazing about during the winter when unfortunately we never seem to have enough time (or enough staff) to muck them out, feed them and care for them as well as school them.
It has been a fairly uneventful time since our Newbury Raceday, so I haven't really had much to report; hence the rather long silence. We have always wanted to run holiday clubs and unfortunately Tricia Fenton (Head of Special Needs) was unable to commit herself to the extra time because of her young family. We were sad to see her leave because she was such a good, kind and professional teacher but happily we have been joined by Harry Howells - a former Deputy Head. Harry has lots of good ideas and plans for our SEN programmes, we are also thrilled to have been joined by Chris Parmenter. Chris has been extra busy over Easter running our very first Holiday Clubs. It has been a huge success and with little or no advertising we have been able to welcome over 80 children here in just two weeks.
We have taken in one horse over the last week: Pennybridge - a 1989 chesnut gelding by Orchestra out of Little Snob. I understand he had been in training with the Duke he ran 52 times on the flat, over hurdles and jumps and won 40k. He has joined the old boys and seems to have made friends with another fairly recent arrival Lachendara.
We were also asked to help a recently bereaved family by taking in their greatly loved miniature Shetland ponies - Jessica and Katie. They are incredibly sweet and trusting and will help out with the Horse Power programme when they have settled in a bit more. We went into the pony paddock today and it was fairly reminiscent of the old days in Devon - 6 goats, 5 ponies, 2 donkeys and a racehorse!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Newbury on March 3rd

Our Newbury day is a huge thing to organise and I started working on it in July last year. Probably the most difficult thing to achieve are the sponsors for the races, but we are so thankful to Ladbrokes who have sponsored us now for quite a few years. Betfair supported us again and we were delighted to welcome William Hill for the first time.
All at Newbury Racecourse, were, as usual, totally committed to ensuring that our main fundraising day was a success and I must thank in particular, Caroline Fleming (nothing is too much trouble) - Caroline even managed to secure a new sponsor at the last minute when we were horribly let down at the last minute.
We had some wonderful auction lots this year (totalling over 60 fantastic silent auction lots) and although I had been worried for weeks before that we weren't going to manage any main auction lots at all, they came in and in the end we auctioned off seven fabulous items.
The success of the day owed quite alot to the expertise of Henry Beeby who ran the auction, he was ably assisted by Kay Burley, Henry Hannon and Rishi Persad. It was not only entertaining but also lucrative.
We owe a great deal of thanks to many generous people who were involved in achieving the staggering sum of £50,000!! This support is overwhelming and we can't survive without it - thank you all.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

All Systems Go for Newbury on the 3rd

It is quite a nerve wracking time at the moment because our big fundraising day at Newbury is becoming ever closer. We were lucky that it was half term last week and we could use the classroom to make up some of the boards - we still have a bit to go but we are winning the battle. Events like this one are a mammoth to organise but fingers crossed it will be worth it in the end. I think that it is astounding that so many people continue to be generous in their support to us. If you feel like coming along we still have a few seats left for the lunch, we now have Kay Burley (Sky News)and Rishi Persaud doing the auction, so I think that they will probably be a good duo. Alternatively, if you just feel like a day's racing we will be offering reduced price entrance tickets, so just keep an eye on our website!
By the way, Mister Trickster is getting much better, but I don't think he will really recover wholly until he gets the benefit of Dr Green (grass). We had thought that Lucayos would be a good companion for him but Tricky Dicky absolutely hated him and they had a real set to in the school. Tricky is only tiny and still frail but he had cornered Luca and then proceeded to double barrel him - so much so that we had to go in and rescue poor Luca (who then needed a vet). So....I think that Tricky has had a tough time in a field with other horses and that because he is tiny he has been bullied, which has stuck in his memory. So when he was with Luca his best line of defence was attack. He now has the 3 little nursemaids next to him and he seems to prefer them and he loves the pygmy goats.
You will see from the picture Mister Trickster is looking a little better but he squinted at the camera flash!